By Segun Ige
In Dependence, a novel written by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, is stylistically patterned after the thematic thrusts of aboriginal African writers, namely: doyen of modern African literature, Chinua Achebe. The extensive borrowing and intersexuality of the Achebean aesthetics is a clear fact of the perennial embattled reconciliation overture between the Western and Eastern blocs.
It, furthermore, unveils the rather important but ill-digested fait accompli that, to be sure, Nigeria is as yet struggling to define the hyper-parameters of its 1960 “Independence”.
To my mind, I believe Sarah is sort of questioning this definitional inexactitude of the Nigerian Independence. What’s more, I suspect that the bifurcation into “In” and “Dependence” reveals, linguistically and ideologically speaking, Sarah’s epistemic stance that Nigeria is ultimately in consonance with the doctrine of systemic discrimination and institutional racism characteristic of the peculiarity and particularity of the American politics, in particular.
In dependence, Nigeria seems to be some child of necessity as it grapples with the Entscheidungs problem of leadership in the grapevine of politicking. In dependence, Nigerian is recursively a child of democracy as it doesn’t know the repercussions rooted in ‘many hands spoil the broth’. In dependence, Nigeria is a child of meritocracy, because its foundation of nationhood doesn’t have any structure, let alone talk of restructuring.
Up until now, the concerned few on the disconcerting political juggernaut which Nigeria has been ensconced with have lent eminent impassioned pleas to President Muhammadu Buhari. To be sure, the developmental agenda of restructuring – or recalibrating – the fiscal federal system may not be easy to come by.
Earnest patriotic citizens, apparently championed by the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, E. A. Adeboye, have particularly pointed out the putative and perverse practice of our political processes. Actually, oughtn’t Buhari heed warnings on restructuring?
By the way, what is Buhari meant to restructure? The grundnorm of a federal system of government grossly steeped in systemically racial and discriminatorily institutionalised tensions? Is that what the president is supposed to restructure?
I’m afraid it would be some herculean task requiring a holistic effort of comity of nations. Yes, that is to say that we ought to, very clearly, grasp the fundamentalism of this kind of restructuring a country the faithful are warning or advising the FG to deploy.
To start with, I’d like to provide a typically thematic consideration noted in what T. S. Eliot describes as the “historical sense”. I do believe that’s the bedrock and backbone of what the “elders” should have clamoured for, instead of a groundless bias for an unstructureable system of betrayal rather than leadership.
Now, what is this ‘historical sense’? Of course, it is not the snail-sense mechanism or feminism described by Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo. Far from it! Indeed, it is some wasp-sense weaponry of metamorphosis and morphological mechanism of survival.
It is a guarded approach of going back to the past, because the questions of the present are answered by the past. It is going back to the past to tap from the autochthonous wells of wisdom and inspiration in order to unravel the riddles of federalism sphinx, phenomenal particularly in the 21-st Century.
That’s what we should be diehards for as it were. Rather than trying to get a grip of a baseless democracy whose founding fathers find practicably mind-boggling, we should fine-tune finer ways of restructuring our dead-end traditional methodologies of leadership and governance.
Surely, we need to travel to the past, before the presence and efflorescence of the imperialists at the time, and resurrect the solutions to our existential problems and social plagues. That’s the historical sense which should serve as the penchant to profligate the tremendous delinquencies of the president.
That’s the foundation that needs restructuring. That’s the foundation that needs resurrection. That’s the foundation that needs recalibration before a fruitful federation of Nigeria can be a sociolinguistic reality. And that’s the beginning of nationhood or nation-building.
Can we continue to clamor for restructuring without any thing to build on? It’s high time we stopped the screeching for the FG to build on mere sand. Nigeria is meant to be built on solid practicable, productive and profitable principles before we ever talk about restructuring.
I mean, restructure what? Restructure corruption? Restructure venality, cupidity and hypocrisy? Restructure turpitude and brazen brigandage? All these are unconscionable acts that would mar the entire definitional nomenclature of Nigeria. Take it or leave it!
So how do we start restructuring? Simply, we start restructuring by building on the foundational principles of values-based leadership outlined by Harry Kraemer – that is, SELF-REFLECTION, BALANCED PERSPECTIVE, SELF-CONFIDENCE, and GENUINE HUMILTY. Taken one after another, self-reflection is the ability to look inward, what will call introspection.
It is a means of soul-searching our inner recesses – essentially to determine how we can adjust or pattern our temperaments and sensibilities after the productivity and profitability of our nation. When a leader brings to bear a balanced perspective, it means his/her leadership styles are hinged on the sub-principles of empathy and inclusion.
Empathy is the power to penetrate the minds of the people, discover the common denominator of their demands, and to proffer solutions to their perennial, existential problems. Inclusion itself is the comprehensive coverage of the sure-footed leader, who always ensures that those under him, irrespective of their age, background, religion and ethnicity, are carried along, so that there could be some ‘symmetric persuasion’ among all.
Julius Caesar says: “Cowards die many times before their death. Only the brave taste of death but once.” To be sure, Caesar’s statement is against the backdrop of self-confidence. To me, without self-confidence, one is self-crucified. You may notice Kraemer’s self-confidence is, ultimately, an alternative terminology for courage.
Particularly, 21-st Century leaders oughtn’t to display ‘cowardly silence’ and ‘stinking hypocrisy’ in their dealings with political matters. For this to happen, they have to ensure that their watchword is, as well, pivoted on the sub-principles of honesty and sincerity. Summarily, to be honest and sincere is to tell the whole truth from the heart. It is being truthful amid pressure to be cast into the furnace of fire.
With genuine humility, the leader wins the heart of the people. This immediately reminds me of the present epidemic of masochism and mayhem ravaging Belarus, for example. Belarus is as yet witnessing some political turmoil over the August 9 disputed presidential election.
The main opposition leader, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, who claims gross imbalance in the election, accuses President Alexander Lukashenko of untold rigging of the votes. Even though Ms. Tikhanovskaya argues that she won the election, Mr. Lukashenko continues to debunk her bone of contention.
What’s more, the burgeoning Belarus unrest has resulted in other opposition leaders, namely, Maria Kolesnikova, being surreptitiously bundled and driven away by masked, mean men in Minsk. Again, genuine humility is very key for fruitful, favorable firmament of federalism.
The pro-colonial mentality of thinking the white as supremacists of the fountain of knowledge and ideas could crackdown on our pre-colonial mentalities to primitive and aboriginal leadership, not ‘rulership’.
A leader, unlike a ruler, is bent on putting the people first in his priority. Yes, we had historical sense. Yes, Africa had historical sense. Yes, West Africa had historical sense. Yes, NIGERIA does have her historical sense with which she can independently operate without ‘plagiarizing’ any of the so-called world leaders.
Think about what’s presently happening in the U.S and U.K., for example. These are powerful countries with their unflinching delinquencies and deficiencies. Trump’s America, in particular, has spawned hundreds of thousands of black lives to their untimely deformation, laceration, or deaths.
President Donald Trump, who once relegated the COVID-19’s pandemic power to the background, has not only contracted the virus, but has also significantly infected many others – in particular, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
In the meantime, however, presidential Democratic hopeful Joe Biden for the November 2020 Election has ‘silently condemned’ Trump whose presence, he argues, is deadlier and more toxic than the coronavirus pandemic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had much earlier been criticized by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer of “winging it” and of pushing “exit without strategy”, is up until now imposing stricter restrictions on England.
Each of these countries is facing epidemics of crises of consciousness, ranging from unemployment and economic whirligig. And yet, these are some of the countries we pattern our modus operandi and modus vivendi after. Is this what Buhari should be restructuring, or what?